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Neighbor Kids


Unless you grew up on a farm or in a retirement home, there is a pretty good chance there was another kid about your age who lived within walking distance.  That’s the kid you played with on vacation days or snow days or after school.  It’s the kid you had your first fistfight with (or whatever the girl equivalent is).  It’s the kid whose parents colluded with your parents so that neither of you got that video game that was too old for you – or that neither of you got your ears pierced until the age of 13.  She’s the neighbor girl.  He’s the neighbor boy.

We have those.  The Van Faasens.  Carl and Pam have two kids: Neil (7) and Cora (5): same age and sex as our kids.  They are a great family.  Their parenting skills are superlative, and their values are similar to ours.  Our kids are similar as well: Cora likes pretty things and is smart and sweet.  Neil is an intelligent fella who likes sports and potty humor.  So, for the most part, we share twins.  Kind of cool.

Every two or three days we do what we call “the switch” or “the trade”.  I don’t know what they call it down the street, but that’s our call for it.  The girls go to one house and the boys go to the other.  It’s great, especially now that the kids are old enough to play on their own.  The girls try on each other’s clothing and play dolls and games.  The boys tend to take off their shirts, roughhouse, play sports outside, and rarely…sit quietly and read books.

Today I walked Bis down to play with Cora.  Neil was waiting outside…ready to walk back with me to play with Alex.  I noticed something funny.  An answer written all over Neil’s head.  I had asked a question earlier in the day to Alex, and the answer was found on his little friend.  Here’s the question: “What possessed you to cut your own hair, Alex?”

Answer: Neil must have cut his own hair a few days beforehand.  Neighbor kids are great.  We get to grow up with them, and fortunately we get the help of another set of parents (and another set of eyes to see all the things our kids don’t think we know.)

  1. November 16, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    And in our neighborhood there are only two boys (who fall right exactly in the step ladder of our boys’ ages). Unfortunately, they are also the product of a divorce, so my kids lose out on these neighborhood kids half of the time. 😦 Nobody ever mentions the neighborhood kids’ friends who are affected by divorce.

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